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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published January 23 2013

Hoeven urges Obama to approve Keystone XL pipeline

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Hoeven is calling on President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline without further delay now that Nebraska has approved an alternative route through the state.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman on Tuesday notified the Obama administration that he has approved the pipeline, saying its new route will avoid the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region, according to a press release from Hoeven’s office.

In November, Hoeven, R-N.D., and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., organized a letter signed by 18 senators, nine Republicans and nine Democrats, calling on Obama to approve the project once Nebraska’s concerns were addressed. Hoeven said he is now gathering signatures for a second bipartisan letter urging Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline without further delay.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., is among those who have signed. Hoeven also is preparing to reintroduce legislation enabling Congress to approve the pipeline if the president doesn’t.

“The president has long-cited Nebraska’s concerns as a reason not to approve the project, but now that those concerns have been addressed, there is no reason to further delay a project that will create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity for the United States,” Hoeven said in a statement.

The pipeline would not run through North Dakota, but would transport crude oil pumped from the Bakken. The route runs from Canada through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska to Cushing, Okla., where it would connect to the southern portion of the pipeline.

“In North Dakota, we know that the Keystone XL Pipeline means American jobs, increased energy security, and the certainty that comes from dealing with our neighbors to the north,” Heitkamp said in a statement.